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Brad Sandefur v. Village of Hanover Park

June 9, 2011

BRAD SANDEFUR, PLAINTIFF,
v.
VILLAGE OF HANOVER PARK, ILLINOIS, RONALD CRAIG, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS PRESIDENT OF HANOVER PARK,
RONALD MOSER, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS VILLAGE MANAGER OF HANOVER PARK,
THOMAS CORTESE, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS DEPUTY CHIEF OF POLICE OF HANOVER PARK, MARK GATZ, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS DEPUTY CHIEF OF POLICE OF HANOVER PARK,
JOHN DOE HANOVER PARK POLICE OFFICERS, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: James F. Holderman, Chief Judge:

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

On February 1, 2011, plaintiff Brad Sandefur ("Sandefur") filed his First Amended Complaint against defendants Village of Hanover Park ("Village"), Ronald Craig ("Craig"), Ronald Moser ("Moser"), Thomas Cortese ("Cortese"), and Mark Gatz ("Gatz") (collectively "Defendants"), bringing claims for violations of his First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Count I); "supervisory refusal/neglect to properly instruct, supervise, control and discipline" also under § 1983 (Count II); and false light under Illinois law (Count III). (Dkt. No. 23 ("1st Am. Compl.") ¶¶ 23-50.)

Now pending before the court is "Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint" (Dkt. No. 14 ("Defs.' Mot.")). For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' Motion is granted in part and denied in part as further explained in this opinion.

BACKGROUND*fn1

When reviewing a motion to dismiss, the court accepts all well-pleaded facts as true and construes all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor. Golden v. Helen Sigman & Assocs., 611 F.3d 356, 360 (7th Cir. 2010) (quoting Tamayo v. Blagojevich, 526 F.3d 1074, 1081 (7th Cir. 2008)). The following are the facts of this case viewed in the light most favorable to Sandefur.

Sandefur is a resident of the Village and works at the Cook County jail as a sergeant in the Cook County Sheriff's Department. (1st Am. Compl. ¶¶ 5, 12.) As a law enforcement officer, Sandefur carries a firearm with him when he is both on- and off-duty in accordance with the Law Enforcement Officer's Safety Act, 18 U.S.C. § 926B. (Id. ¶ 12.)

The Village is a village in Illinois. (Id. ¶ 6.) At the time of the events in question, Craig was the President of the Village's Board of Council ("Board") and a Village employee. (Id. ¶ 7.) As President of the Board, Craig was responsible for "monitor[ing], restrict[ing] and control[ling]" the Village Manager and the Village police. (Id.) Moser was the Village Manager and was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Village including appointing all department heads. (Id. ¶ 9.) Cortese was the Village's Deputy Chief of Police in charge of the Village's Support Services. (Id. ¶ 10.) Gatz was also employed by the Village as the Deputy Chief of Police in charge of Operations. (Id. ¶ 11.)

On February 4, 2010, Sandefur attended the Board's monthly meeting at the Village hall (id. ¶ 13), and was carrying his firearm (id. ¶¶ 12, 15). Craig, Moser, Cortese, Gatz, and several of Sandefur's neighbors and acquaintances were also present at the meeting. (Id. ¶¶ 13, 15, 19.) At the meeting, Sandefur made a presentation to the Board regarding a water flow and icing problem that was occurring near his home in the Village. (Id. ¶¶ 13-14.) Sandefur "approach[ed] the area directly in front of the raised table of the [Board] and . . . place[d] his exhibit photographs depicting the extent of the problem in front of [the Board] for review and evaluation." (Id. ¶ 14.) During his presentation, Sandefur raised his hands, which exposed his holstered gun. (Id. ¶¶ 14-15.) Several Village officers then grabbed Sandefur and physically restrained him. (Id. ¶ 15.) The officers told Sandefur that they "had observed a holster which they believed contained a weapon under [Sandefur's] clothing." (Id.) Sandefur attempted to identify himself as a law enforcement officer, and Lori Kaiser ("Kaiser"), a member of the Board, announced to the room that Sandefur was in fact a law enforcement officer. (Id.) Several officers nevertheless removed Sandefur from the meeting room and restrained him. (Id.) Sandefur's neighbor, Paul Lussky ("Lussky"), also was removed from the meeting. (Id. ¶ 17.)

After Sandefur was taken outside the meeting room, the officers forcibly removed the handgun from Sandefur's holster. (Id. ¶ 16.) Sandefur attempted to show Defendants*fn2 his law enforcement identification but was unable to do so because the officers continued to restrain him. (Id.) Eventually, one of the officers removed Sandefur's identification from Sandefur's pocket and gave it to Defendants. (Id.) Moser spent a few minutes inspecting Sandefur's identification and then instructed the officers to release Sandefur and return his gun. (Id.)

Moser subsequently allowed Lussky to return to the meeting but prohibited Sandefur from re-entering the meeting. (Id. ¶¶ 17-18.) Moser told Sandefur that "[Sandefur] could not come back in [the meeting] since he had already caused enough of a disturbance"; "he could come back to the next meeting if he wanted to make any further presentation but that he would be arrested for trespass if he did not leave [the Village hall] immediately"; and "he would be arrested for trespass if he ever tried to bring his gun into a [Village] meeting again." (Id. ¶ 18.) Sandefur informed Defendants of his right to carry a firearm but left the premises after he was denied re-entry to the meeting. (Id.)

After speaking with Sandefur, Moser returned to the meeting and stated that "[Sandefur] appeared to be a correctional officer, possessed a gun and a badge, and had been removed from the building." (Id. ¶ 19.) Craig subsequently "thanked the police for being observant, chuckled about the matter and the meeting continued." (Id.) When Lussky attempted to clarify the situation, Craig "stopped him" and said, "I don't want to know." (Id.) The Daily Herald newspaper published an article about the incident on or about February 11, 2010. (Id.) The article recited the basic facts of the event and stated that Moser acknowledged "that he made the call to bar [Sandefur from re-entering the meeting] and that the officers who removed [Sandefur] handled the situation very well." (Id. ¶ 20.)

Several days after the February 4, 2010 meeting, Craig called Sandefur to inform him that the Village would soon repair the icing problem Sandefur addressed at the meeting and that Sandefur need not attend the next Village meeting. (Id. ¶21.) Sandefur nevertheless "went to the next meeting, but without his gun because he feared arrest, to see what the Defendants would do." (Id.) When Sandefur arrived at the next meeting, Cortese asked Sandefur whether he had his gun. (Id.) After Sandefur responded that he did not have his gun, Cortese told Sandefur that he could "wear the gun at future meetings." (Id.)

On September 15, 2010, Sandefur filed a complaint against Defendants (Dkt. No. 1), and Defendants subsequently filed their Motion to Dismiss on December 3, 2010 (Dkt. No. 14). Sandefur then filed his First Amended Complaint (Dkt. No. 23) on February 1, 2011. In the First Amended Complaint, Sandefur brings claims against Defendants for violations of his First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights under 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983 (Count I); "supervisory refusal/neglect to properly instruct, supervise, control and ...


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